Monday, July 18, 2011

Words in the Wilderness

I had one goal at my week long writers retreat/class: words on paper.

My current project was languishing a little under the strain of other responsibilities.  I struggled with the concept, drafted an outline, and made profiles for my main characters. But I didn't have much of the actual writing done.  I started writing before I went so that I had something to share in class if the unspeakable (i.e. writer's block) occurred.  My worries were unfounded.

These were my living quarters during the week:

This was my view each morning:

It was inspiring to be in the wilderness, somewhat turned off from my daily grind.  I still had internet (because everyone knows I wouldn't survive without it) but I limited my use of it.  We were far enough off the beaten path that my phone wouldn't get data service - which means no apps.  This was a blessing in disguise because it freed me to clear my mind and truly think about my project.

I ate my meals in the fresh mountain air surrounded by fellow writers.  We discussed our projects, brainstormed ideas, and enjoyed each others' company.

Each afternoon I hiked a ten minute nature trail to the Old Fort (circa civil war era) to share chapters with my class and receive feedback.

I wrote 8,000 words during my stay and broke through significant logic barriers in my story with the help of my instructors and the other writers in my class.

When it was time to go, I made a stop in Santa Fe. I bought handmade jewelry and a drum from local Native American Artisans. These were gifts for my family.  They allowed me to spend some of my precious free time away from them and I really appreciate it.

I also enjoyed a fantastic lunch in Santa Fe of blue corn enchiladas (served on open tortillas and smothered.  I drank a traditional Mexican horchata drink (combines rice milk, sugar, and cinnamon all served iced).  Delicious!

Thank you to all my friends that taught at or attended the SMU-Taos Creative Writing trip.  It was fantastic.

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